The new Kia K5, which replaced the Optima, is a semi-finalist for this year’s NACTOY honors.

After miles upon miles of effort, the list of potential winners of the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year (NACTOY) Awards has been whittled down to a list of 27 semifinalists in the three categories for the 2021 honors.

The list includes eight cars, 15 utility vehicles and four trucks that can be purchased by the general public and are “either all-new or substantially new,” according to the rules.

Last year’s winners were the eighth-generation, or C8 Chevrolet Corvette for Car of the Year while the Kia Telluride won the brand’s first-ever trophy from NACTOY for Utility Vehicle of the Year, with the Jeep Gladiator taking the North American Truck of the Year honor.

(North American Car, Truck, SUV of the Year jurors reveal 2021 candidates.)

The Ford Bronco Sport is one of the NACTOY semi-finalists.

To account for the difficult year that automakers have endured in terms of production, the journalists driving the vehicles accepted vehicle entries from automakers later than normal to accommodate the later launches of some vehicles.

“Many of the new models on our semifinalist list make bold statements that are intended to distinguish them within their segments,” NACTOY President Gary Witzenburg said. “Several are all-electric, while others have groundbreaking designs or off-the-charts capabilities. It will be fascinating to see which risks pay off this year as our evaluation process continues.”

The 2021 NACTOY semifinalists for Car of the Year include: Acura TLX; Cadillac CT4/CT4-V; Genesis G80; Hyundai Elantra family (includes N Line and HEV); Kia K5; Mercedes-Benz E Class Sedan, All-Terrain, Coupe, Cabriolet; Nissan Sentra; and Polestar 2.

(Corvette, Telluride and Gladiator win North American car, SUV and truck awards.)

For Utility of the Year, the list includes: Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban, Chevrolet Trailblazer, Ford Bronco Sport, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Genesis GV80, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Seltos, Kia Sorento, Land Rover Defender, Mazda CX-30, Nissan Rogue, Toyota RAV4 Prime, Toyota Venza and Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge.

The Jeep Gladiator Mojave is a semi-finalist for the truck of the year honor.

The Ford Super Duty, Ford F-150, Ram 1500 TRX and Jeep Gladiator Mojave are the Truck of the Year finalists.

This year’s semifinalists were picked by a jury of 50 respected jurors from print, online, radio and broadcast media across the U.S. and Canada. The next step in the awards process is an annual comparison drive that will take place Oct. 5-8 where jurors will have another chance to evaluate the vehicles that made the semifinalists list.

(Truck of the Year winner Jeep Gladiator also a Mopar star.)

Next, jurors will vote to select three finalists from each category, which will be announced in December during an event hosted by the LA Auto Show. Winners will be announced in January 2021 during an event hosted by the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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